June 29, 2016 - 11:00am

Living in today’s global community requires knowledge of legal issues at home and abroad, as well as an understanding of one’s legal rights and responsibilities. Workplaces are increasingly regulated environments with law applicable to nearly every occupation.

Realizing the growing number of students who desire and need legal education tools, VIU business law professor Dana Collette and Dr. David Livingstone, professor in Liberal Studies and Political Studies, have proposed the implementation of a VIU Legal Studies Certificate program. Once approved, it will be the only university program of its kind available on Vancouver Island.

The Legal Studies certificate builds upon the success of the VIU Law Network, an informal group started by Collette that assists students interested in law by connecting them to VIU alumni who have gone on to law school or who are practicing law. The Network also coordinates workshops and hosts law-related lectures on campus. “The VIU Law Network was a highlight of my undergraduate degree. The LSAT preparation seminars, legal community contacts, and mentorship were all invaluable resources that assisted in my law school application process,' reports VIU alumna, Leah Whitworth.

The proposal for a Legal Studies Certificate program came about after Professor Collette and Dr. Livingstone found an increasing number of students were interested in law and were actively looking for more ways to explore that interest while studying at VIU.

“In the increasingly competitive job market and where organizations are affected by changes in the legal environment, this certificate can help the graduate set himself or herself apart,” explained Professor Dana Collette.

The proposed Legal Studies Certificate program is  designed to be taken concurrently with a Bachelor’s degree or diploma.  The program is designed to prepare students for graduate work in law and policy, careers where there are significant legal issues, or for future success in law school.

The program will have a special emphasis on enhancing students’ learning in the areas of law and policy, developing and enhancing critical thinking skills, and exposing students to an interdisciplinary study of law and legal institutions.

The Certificate is also designed to inspire students to take courses from a variety of departments and disciplines, exposing them to different perspectives and methods they may not otherwise encounter in their program of study. 

“The Legal Studies Certificate will be one more way that VIU helps our students transfer the academic work and skills they acquire at university--like studying our legal institutions, learning to write well and how to analyse complex arguments--into the job world,” Livingstone remarked.

 

 


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